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TWITTER: AN INDISPENSABLE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Nigeria, among other countries of the world, got into the information age, thus leading to multiplicity of information gadgets, mobile phone, technologies, and social media of communication amongst others, which has also influenced consumer buying behavior. 
 
As social media platforms continues to expand, websites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the likes, continue to expand, as opposed to traditional business websites. This has made more business people who want to remain in business, to expand their presence online.
 
Twitter has become one of the fastest and most effective methods of information delivery in the world. When a major world event occurs, it can become a “trending topic” within minutes and be seen by several million people across the globe.
 
According to research, Twitter wasn’t really meant to work as a social networking platform. It came into existence seven (7) years ago as a podcasting company’s in-house messaging service, but things have changed over time and for the betterment of everyone. Today, Twitter serves several functions to several people. In the society, we have several Twitter consumers which ranges from News consumers, Research consumers, brand consumers, entertainment consumers, and the likes, and Twitter does its best to satisfy each of its consumers.
 
Social media such as Twitter, have been used as a vehicle for promoting businesses as it allows the consumers engage in a discussion about a product or service which they like or intend to purchase and this influences their buying behavior. The microblogging service is a huge resource for you in the day-to-day operation of their business. Twitter is a tool that could help you market yourself and your business. You need to understand your audience and give them content they want. 
 
The most important thing you will do using Twitter is to listen. Know what your audience is talking about. Know what they're saying about you and your business. These will give you an insight on how to build an audience .To build an audience, post a few tweets to familiarize yourself with the process, and spend some time reading what others in your industry are talking about on Twitter. Send a few @ replies out to people who are following you. Respond to things they are talking about. When they in turn respond to you with an @ reply, the people following them will take notice of you and may choose to follow as well and from here your network can be your net worth.
 
 It can be used by companies to monitor real-time conversations about her brands, and this will help her know what people are saying about the company and make amends where necessary. It helps the manufacturer or wholesaler to know the consumer problems, product issues or potentially damaging PR disasters before they transform into crisis for the organization. It could help build a brand because it has a global reach. A new study finds consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand’s online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles and product reviews than the average consumer.
 
Also, Twitter connections can be used for personal branding, personal learning, job and career stakeholders and the sharing of professional, career relevant and public content, unlike Facebook connections that are meant for family and friends, and for sharing more daily personally relevant and private content.
 
Tweets could offer helpful links and headlines that could drive traffic to websites and blogs in which researchers can research for their various write-ups.  It could help to boost one’s visibility on search engines.
 
Twitteratis can now get news from Twitter sites of newspapers since most newspaper organizations now have Twitter accounts. This keeps them abreast of daily happenings in the Nigerian society and the whole world. Unlike the traditional media, Twitter reports latest news and trends as it happens On the other hand, journalists make use of Twitter to seek information on leads and sources. With this, they could get PR placements, if they establish themselves as a voice of authority on Twitter- especially if they combine their tweets with blog posts.
 
Celebrities and Entertainers have also taken to twitter for social validation. With the help of Twitter, fans are able to follow the stars they fan on their Twitter pages in order to get to know more about them.
 
 With twitter you can express a moment on an idea. Tweets are more than text and often the text of a tweet is a caption to a richer experience. By tweeting daily and regularly, your tweet can be one out of 500 million content on Twitter viewed and rewetted everyday. When you follow people, their Tweets instantly show in your time line. To see interesting tweets however, follow interesting people, friends, Celebrities and any whose tweets you enjoy.
 
 With the help of a Twitter hastag (#) which serves as a link, individuals can be directed to websites of their choice for a given piece of information. So popular is the Hashtag(#) that Twitter developed into its core functionality and it’s now a good platform that help grow and drive traffic to our daily basics. Hashtag gives room for supporting platform .It extends the reach of your content and delivers it to relevant users.  Take the example of the hash tag #Bringbackourgirls which was trendy. It provided an excellent source of information which kept people in touch with what others are saying about a particular topic or news.
 
 Searching a job through Twitter will be easier and much more effective than using the traditional job sites. With just simple tweet of info of less than 140 characters you can have a good job placement rather than filtering out the irrelevant fields, looking through a job placement site or finding an opportunity.
 
 According to research, Twitter users are the most influential online consumers — 72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly, 70 percent comment on blogs, 61 percent write at least one product review monthly and 61 percent comment on news sites. Daily Twitter users are 6 times more likely to publish articles, five times more likely to post blogs, seven times more likely to post to Wikis and three times more likely to post product reviews at least monthly compared to non-Twitter users. 23 percent of online consumers read Twitter updates at least monthly. 11 percent of online consumers read Twitter updates, but do not have a Twitter account themselves. 20 percent of consumers indicate they have followed a brand in order to interact with the company — more than become email subscribers or Facebook fans for the sake of interaction. Men are more than twice as likely as women to follow brands on Twitter to interact with the company (29 percent compared to 13 percent). Nine out of the 10 most common motivations for consumers to follow a brand on Twitter involve consumers seeking information from a company.
 
Keeping friendship through Twitter could be very amazing. It’s a platform of give and take that exists between users. This kind of dynamic contributes to a lot of friendships built on Twitter that go far beyond Tweetdeck. In Twitter community everyone is so sharing, helpful and generous. Everyone likes meeting nice people, Twitter is the place to do it.
 
Twitter is indeed a source of Information to a modernized world like ours, and it’s however advised that users explore more of its benefits, while those who are yet to come on board, embrace this innovation.
 
Twitter is a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. By developing a fundamentally new way for people to consume, create, distribute and discover content, Twitter enables any voice to echo around the world instantly and unfiltered. The service can be accessed at Twitter.com   via Twitter mobile applications for a variety of devices, and by text message. Available in more than 35languages, Twitter has more than 271million monthly active users. 
 
Okolie Ijeoma works with JSP Corporate Communications, Ikeja, Lagos